Back to Albert from Teddington today. We picked up Albert from Thrupp and travelled down to Oxford in bright spring sunshine. We have now passed this route three times over the last few weeks, but this time it isn't raining and the towpaths are actually dry. The changes in the season are remarkably rapid. The trees are coming into leaf and there is plenty of blossom. The moorings near Isis lock at Jericho were empty two weeks ago, today they were full.

The shortest narrowboat? - NB Hebe moored near Dukes Lock

Sheepwash channel wasn't running as full as when we turned there almost two weeks ago and there was decent headroom under Osney Bridge.

As we left Osney Lock were heard the whistle and saw the smoke of a steam engine at Oxford Station. We hung around in the channel sufficiently long to see 5046 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe cross the river. What a sight!

Castle Class, 5043, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe leaving Oxford

We had bought our Environment Agency Licence at Osney Lock but then I managed to leave behind my documents file in the lock keepers office. When we arrived at Iffley the lock keeper there had had a message from Osney. We decided to moor up below Iffley Lock for the night and then walk back along the towpath to collect the documents. The sunshine made it a pleasant walk along the meadows and there were numerous rowing crews training along the reach from Folly Bridge to Iffley - eights, fours, pairs, double scullers and even a coxed quad sculler. We managed to avoid getting run over by the manic cyclists that frequent this section of the towpath. Some are associated with the rowing but most are not. It appears that bells on bikes are a rarity in Oxford.

Folly Bridge, Oxford

We stopped off for a drink at the Isis Farmhouse - a unique pub. Westons cider from the bottle but most of the ale is served by gravity. We are not sure if it's shabby chic or just shabby. However you can't fault it for atmosphere.

Albert moored up below Iffley Lock